STATE OF NEW YORK
                      DIVISION OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY RENEWAL
                            OFFICE OF RENT ADMINISTRATION
                                     GERTZ PLAZA
                               92-31 UNION HALL STREET
                               JAMAICA, NEW YORK 11433

          -------------------------------------X   ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
          IN THE MATTER OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE      DOCKET Nos.:  GC210352RT,
          APPEALS OF                               GC210468RT,   GC210480RT,
                    VARIOUS TENANTS OF 252         GC210502RT,   GC220351RT,
                    74TH STREET, BROOKLYN, NY      GC230376RT,   GE210106RT,
                                                   GE210204RT

                                                   RENT ADMINISTRATOR'S
                                                   DOCKET NO.:  DJ230103OM
                                   PETITIONERS
          -------------------------------------X

                  ORDER AND OPINION REMANDING PROCEEDINGS ON APPEAL

          On various dates, the above named petitioner-tenants timely filed 
          petitions for administrative review (PARs) against an order issued 
          on February 20, 1992,  by  a  Rent  Administrator  (Gertz  Plaza)
          concerning the housing accommodations known as 252  74th  Street,
          Brooklyn, New York, wherein the Rent Administrator determined that 
          the owner was entitled to a rent increase based on the installation 
          of a major capital improvement (MCI).

          The  Commissioner  deems  it  appropriate  to  consolidate  these
          petitions for disposition since they pertain to the same order and 
          involve common issues of law and fact.

          The Commissioner has reviewed all of the evidence in the record and 
          has carefully considered that portion of the record relevant to the 
          issues raised by these administrative appeals.

          The owner commenced  this  proceeding  on  October  18,  1989  by
          initially filing an application for a rent increase based on  the
          installation of apartment windows, building-wide and an  intercom
          system at a total claimed cost of $72,990.00.

          Various tenants objected to the owner's MCI application alleging, 
          in substance, that the "installation of the new  windows  is  not
          complete"; that the basement and hallway windows  have  not  been
          replaced and are deteriorated; and that the intercom system  does
          not work.  

          In addition, the tenant  of  apartment  1B,  as  apparent  tenant
          representative, asserted that screens were not replaced; that her 
          windows were drafty and could not be locked; and that she filed a 
          FOIL application  and  is  waiting  to  review  the  owner's  MCI
          application.  The tenant in  apartment  5J  complained  that  his
          windows would not stay up. 












          ADMIN. REVIEW DOCKET NO. GC-210352-RT

          The owner responded to the  tenant's  claims  by  contending,  in
          substance, that repairs were made in apartments  1B  and  5J  and
          stated that the prior intercom system was installed in "1976" and 
          required replacement because it was outmoded.

          On February 20, 1992, the Rent Administrator granted, in part, the 
          owner's application and authorized a rent increase for  both  the
          controlled and stabilized apartments predicated on the installation 
          of new apartment windows  upon  finding  that  said  installation
          qualified as an MCI.  Disallowed by  the  Administrator  was  the
          claimed cost of $4,290.00 for the intercom system (which  is  not
          here in issue) upon a finding that the useful life of  the  prior
          system had not expired.

          Various  tenants  filed  petitions  for  administrative   review,
          including 45 tenants of the Tenants' Association  contending,  in
          substance, that the MCI increase for the window installation should 
          be disallowed because the hallway and basement windows  were  not
          replaced; that permanent window screens  were  removed  from  the
          apartment windows and never replaced; that the tenants did not ask 
          for new windows; that boxes of extra windows are  stored  in  the
          basement and may be included in the allowed cost; that  there  is
          asbestos on the pipes in the storage and laundry rooms constituting 
          a violation; and that the room count of the premises, based  upon
          the Owner's 1991 Fuel Cost Report, is 190 rooms not the 185 rooms 
          as claimed by the owner in his MCI application.  

          Additionally, it is alleged, in substance, that the wrong glass was 
          installed in the kitchen window (1F); that  the  windows  do  not
          operate properly (1B); that the windows were installed prior to her 
          occupancy and that one window is broken  and  the  locks  do  not
          operate properly (1A).  The tenant in apartment 1D  contends,  in
          substance, that she is a senior citizen and finds the MCI increase 
          to be excessive.

          In answer the owner states, in substance, that it is not required 
          to provide screens and that there is no record of the owner  ever
          providing screens; that the contractor provided  the  owner  with
          extra windows free of charge;  that  asbestos  removal  does  not
          pertain to the MCI; that asbestos has been removed from the steam 
          pipes which have been insulated with fiberglass; and that the room 
          count should be less than the number claimed in the application. 

          Additionally, the owner states that the vacancy lease executed by 
          the tenant of apartment 1A had a lease provision notifying her of 
          the MCI application; that it replaced the glass  in  the  kitchen
          windows of apartment 1F; and it is prepared to have the contractor 
          correct the complaints of the tenant in apartment 1B concerning her 
          windows.


                                          2






          ADMIN. REVIEW DOCKET NO. GC-210352-RT

          The tenants' representative reiterated the claim, in response  to
          the owner's answer, that public area windows should be included as 
          part of the MCI; that the majority of apartments had screens in the 
          windows and owner is obligated to supply  screens  with  the  new
          windows; and asbestos removal and re-insulation of the steam pipes 
          is relevant to this MCI increase.

          The Commissioner is of the opinion that these proceedings should be 
          remanded to the Rent Administrator for further processing.
           
          Rent increases for major capital improvements are  authorized  by
          Section 2202.4 of the Rent  and  Eviction  Regulations  for  rent
          controlled apartments and Section 2522.4 of the Rent Stabilization 
          Code for rent stabilized  apartments.   Under  rent  control,  an
          increase is warranted where there has been since July 1, 1970,  a
          major capital improvement required for the operation, preservation, 
          or maintenance of the structure.  Under rent  stabilization,  the
          improvement must generally be building-wide; depreciable under the 
          Internal Revenue Code, other than for ordinary repairs;  required
          for the operation, preservation, and maintenance of the structure; 
          and replace an item whose useful life has expired.

          It is the established position of the Division, as  reflected  in
          Operational Bulletin 84-4 and Policy  Statement  89-6,  that  the
          building-wide installation of all apartment and/or  public  areas
          windows, to replace windows which are 25 or more years old (as is 
          the case herein) constitute an MCI for which a rent increase may be 
          warranted, provided the owner  otherwise  so  qualifies.   Policy
          Statement 89-6 is predicated upon the fact that New York City and 
          New York State Building Codes have more stringent requirements for 
          public area and lot line windows  such  as  the  requirement  for
          "protectives" and thus vary  significantly  from  other  windows.
          Moreover, the Commissioner notes that tenant consent to an MCI rent 
          increase is not required.

          The  record  in  the  instant  case  discloses  that  the   owner
          substantiated the installation, in question, by the submission of 
          contracts, contractor's certification and cancelled checks for the 
          apartment windows.

          As to the tenants' allegation that they were not able to  examine
          the file while the proceeding was pending before the Administrator, 
          the Commissioner notes that any denial of due process  which  may
          have occurred was rectified upon appeal as  the  records  of  the
          Division disclose that the tenants' FOIL request was honored during 
          the pending of these proceedings; and that no further submissions 
          has been received from the parties with regard thereto.




                                          3












          ADMIN. REVIEW DOCKET NO. GC-210352-RT

          As to the contention of the tenant of Apt. 1D, the Commissioner is 
          not unmindful of the fact that rent increases are  burdensome  on
          tenants but is constrained to affirm such increases as an owner is 
          entitled pursuant to the applicable provisions of the Rent Law and 
          Code.  However, a tenant with a valid Senior Citizen Rent Increase 
          Exemption (SCRIE) is exempt from that portion of the increase which 
          would cause the rent to exceed one-third of the tenant's  monthly
          household disposable income.  A tenant who may be entitled to this 
          benefit may contact the New York City Department of the Aging.

          However, as to the tenants' contention that the removed windows had 
          screens which the new windows  do  not,  the  record  before  the
          Division is insufficient to resolve the conflicting allegations of 
          the parties.  Accordingly, the Commissioner is of the opinion that 
          this proceeding should be remanded to the Rent Administrator  for
          such further processing as may be  deemed  necessary,  which  may
          include a hearing, to ascertain whether screens were  a  required
          service included with the replaced windows.  If the Administrator, 
          after such inquiry, finds  that  the  replaced  windows  included
          screens, the MCI increase may be granted upon a showing that  the
          owner restored the services  of  screens  and/or  on  such  other
          conditions which the Administrator deems appropriate such as a rent 
          offset.

          Furthermore, upon the remand of this proceeding the tenants should 
          be afforded the opportunity to reexamine the area file, if they so 
          desire, and consideration should be  given  to  such  allegations
          raised with regard to the quality of the window installation  and
          room count.

          As to the contention by the tenant of Apt. 1A that she moved into 
          the subject  premises  subsequent  to  the  windows  having  been
          installed, the Commissioner notes that where, as with respect  to
          this apartment, the tenant takes occupancy while an MCI application 
          is pending before the Division, in order for such increase to  be
          collectible upon the issuance of the Administrator's  order,  the
          vacancy lease must, in accordance with Section 2522.4(a)(5) of the 
          Code, contain  specific  reference  to  the  pending  application
          including the docket number, a description of the installation, the 
          increase requested and a clause advising the tenant that the rent 
          charged was subject to an additional increase during the  current
          lease term then in effect.  In the absence of same, the increase is 
          not collectible until the expiration of the lease term in effect at 
          the time (February 20, 1992) the Administrator's order was issued.







                                          4






          ADMIN. REVIEW DOCKET NO. GC-210352-RT

          In this regard the Commissioner  notes  that  the  vacancy  lease
          submitted by the tenant of apartment 1A fails to satisfy the notice 
          requirements of the Code since reference was only made to  Docket
          No. DJ230103OM without  description  of  the  installation.   The
          determination herein is without prejudice to the  right  of  this
          tenant filing complaint of rent overcharge should, the  facts  so
          warrant.

          THEREFORE, in accordance with the Rent Stabilization Law and Code, 
          and the New York City Rent and Eviction Regulations, it is

          ORDERED, that these proceedings be,  and  the  same  hereby  are,
          remanded to the Rent Administrator for further  consideration  in
          accordance with this order and opinion.  The automatic stay of so 
          much of the Rent Administrator's order as directed a  retroactive
          rent increase for the rent stabilized tenants  (which  stay  took
          effect upon the filing of the petitions for administrative review) 
          is hereby continued until a new order is issued upon the  remand.
          However, the Administrator's determination as to a prospective rent 
          increase is not stayed and  shall  remain  in  effect  until  the
          Administrator issues a new order upon the remand.

          ISSUED:



                                                       ____________________
                                                         Joseph A. D'Agosta
                                                        Deputy Commissioner






















                                          5






    

TenantNet Home | TenantNet Forum | New York Tenant Information
DHCR Information | DHCR Decisions | Housing Court Decisions | New York Rent Laws
Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Contact Us

Subscribe to our Mailing List!
Your Email      Full Name